Research Article| Volume 21, ISSUE 6, P629-634, June 2015

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Neuropsychiatric symptoms and caregiver's burden in Parkinson's disease


      • Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and caregiver burden is studied in Parkinson's disease (PD).
      • PD patients with dementia experience more NPS, a fact adding extra burden to caregivers.
      • NPS were the main determinant of caregiver burden, both in PD patients with and without dementia.



      In Parkinson's disease (PD), neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) can be particularly burdensome for caregivers. The main goal of this study was to assess the impact of NPS, assessed by means of a new specific scale, on caregiver burden.


      A sample of 584 pairs of PD patients and their primary caregivers was studied. Patients' NPS were measured with the Scale for Evaluation of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in PD (SEND-PD), and the Zarit Caregiver Burden Inventory was used to quantify caregiver burden. Three linear regression models were built to check factors associated with caregiver burden, one for the total sample and two for subgroups stratified by the presence of dementia.


      The most frequent NPS were depression (in 66% of the sample), anxiety (65%) and mental fatigue (57%). Patients with dementia (n = 94; 16% of sample) consistently presented more NPS than patients without dementia (p < 0.001). On linear regression models, the main determinants of caregiver burden (for the total sample and the sample of patients without dementia) were SEND-PD dimensions mood/apathy and psychosis, PD-related disability and disease duration. For patients with dementia, the only significant caregiver burden determinants were SEND-PD psychosis and mood/apathy subscale scores.


      NPS in PD are highly associated with and are determinants of caregiver burden, and are more prevalent and burdensome in patients with dementia. Detailed assessment and specific interventions aimed at NPS could alleviate caregiver burden.


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